Saturday, November 2, 2013

Simple Chicken and Rice, but it's Not Average.

For about a 24 hour period, our little town didn't have any natural gas; human error had caused the lines to depressurize which meant no heat or hot water for many residents. It also meant no using the gas stove which meant no cooking up anything fresh for meals, except via the microwave. Yeah, that wasn't happening. Luckily the gas was back on before I went to work, and as soon as I came home I went to work on a very simple, comforting and delicious chicken dinner.  I call it "Simply Seared Chicken" due to that being the main method of cooking, searing; the side dish is "Risi e Bisi" or "Rice and Peas".  The side dish is a risotto which originated in Venice and goes very well with poultry or the other white meat, pork.

Now when picking out your chicken, I like using plump, boneless, skinless chicken breasts; however, they take a little longer to cook because of the thickness and usually need to be finished off in the oven.  Keeping them searing in the skillet is not a good idea for while they will finish cooking completely, the seasonings will end up burning.  A thinner cutlet can be used, or pound out the chicken breasts if you do not want to use the oven to complete the cooking.  Personally, once I cut into that thick section of chicken breast, the juices begin flowing out, mixing with the seasonings and olive oil; there is no need for any sauces or gravies!

Simply Seared Chicken
1 tsp each of medium sea salt, paprika and garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbsp olive oil
Mix together the seasonings and sprinkle on both sides of chicken.
Heat the olive oil in a 12 inch skillet on medium-high heat; as it just begins to sizzle, add the chicken (skin side down) into the pan.  All four pieces will fit with a slight space in between each.
Sear the chicken for five minutes, turn over and sear the other side for another five minutes. 
Test the doneness by slicing open the thickest part of the breast.  If it is still undercooked, place the chicken into a baking pan and finish off cooking in a 350F oven for three to five minutes.

The Risi e Bisi can be cooking at the same time you are preparing the chicken; a main and side dish done at the same time!
Risi e Bisi (rice and peas)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup Arborio rice
4 cups warmed chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted and warmed
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
In a deep, large skillet, medium-heat, melt the butter with the olive oil; add the rice and toast it for two minutes; add the garlic and mix thoroughly.  Add 1 and 1/2 cups of stock, bring to a low boil (just beginning to bubble); stir until the liquid is fully absorbed into the rice.  Continue adding in half cups of stock, letting it be fully absorbed by the rice before adding more; stir constantly.  The rice should be al dente within 20 minutes at which time the peas and cheese can be added and mixed in.
Both the chicken and side dish recipes are for four servings.  Simple, easy, comforting and very delicious; how can you go wrong!?!
Mary Cokenour

No comments:

Post a Comment